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The Founding of the Roman Catholic Church in Melanesia and Micronesia, 1850-1875

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by Ralph M. Wiltgen
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The Founding of the Roman Catholic Church in Melanesia and Micronesia, 1850-1875 by Ralph M. Wiltgen

The Founding of the Roman Catholic Church in Melanesia and Micronesia, 1850 to 1875 is the result of Father Ralph Wiltgen's years of archival work in Rome and at the headquarters of religious orders who worked in Micronesia and Melanesia. It follows his first historical book on the subject, The Founding of the Roman Catholic Church in Oceania: 1825 to 1850, but narrows the focus. The first book dealt with the whole of Oceania and emphasized developments in Polynesia. This book concentrates on Melanesia and Micronesia from 1850 to 1875, the period immediately before the work of large numbers of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Marists, and Divine Word Missionaries assumed great momentum in the period between 1875 and 1914. Micronesia is a huge area of the world, made up of numerous culturally and politically distinct groups of atolls ranging over about 1,400 miles from the northwest to the southeast. Its peoples speak scores of mutually unintelligible though related languages on such island groups as the Marshalls, the Gilberts, Nauru, and Kiribati. Far more heavily populated is Melanesia, another huge area of the Pacific where as many as one thousand distinct languages are spoken in an arc of islands extending from just below the equator in a boomerang shape from today's Indonesian controlled Papua and independent Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea in the northwest all the way along the Solomon Island chain to 25° south latitude to the southeast. In this book, Wiltgen shows himself the undisputed master of the archives of the Propaganda Fide, the Vatican's chief mission agency and the religious orders that provided missionaries, all of which is supplemented by his attention to the lives of key people of the period. He shows the Propaganda now prodding missionary orders to take on the difficult work of evangelizing these areas and on other occasions struggling to keep up with and understand fast-moving events and the colorful characters--both ecclesiastical and among colonial administrators, rogue sea captains, and indigenous leaders. Wiltgen lets the contemporary records speak for themselves, though one can imagine his arched brow and mischievous grin as he selects exactly the right quote to describe now an act of missionary heroism and now an act of self-promotion. It is a masterful book, making available the early history of one of Catholicism's greatest missionary successes, helping the reader understand both the idealism of the vision and the way in which concrete events and people affected the outcome

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Ebook Details
Pages: 596
Size: 43.4 MB
Publisher: Pickwick Publications
Date published:   2008
ISBN: 9781498275439 (DRM-EPUB)

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Nonfiction > Religion

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